Title: Leaving (9/24/03)
Season VI – didn’t happen, but could have....
Rating – PG13
Word count - 2782
Disclaimer – I thought this up – not Joss, who actually owns the characters.
Distribution – just let me know where it goes.
Feedback/reviews – please!
"Spike!" Buffy bolted upright, heart pounding. As she recognized her surroundings, her breathing and heart rate gradually returned to normal, but the feeling of danger and dread did not go away.
"OK, it was only a dream. I'm fine, Spike's fine, nothing to worry about....." Even as she said these reassuring things to herself, Buffy was pulling on sweat pants and a shirt and looking for her shoes. Moving quietly so as not to awaken Dawn and Willow, she slipped down the stairs and out the door, her feet automatically taking the shortest route to the cemetery. As she walked, she chided herself for being foolish and losing much needed sleep just because she dreamed something was wrong with Spike. "Who is perfectly capable of taking care of himself.” she huffed under her breath. Her feet however, continued toward the familiar stone building with the heavy door.
As she approached, she noticed a car parked out front. It was the old Desoto in which Spike had come to Sunnydale. The one in which he’d taken her out on the aborted “date” when he first told her he loved her. But it didn't belong in the cemetery, and definitely not in front of his crypt. Certain that her premonition of danger had been right, she began moving faster. Her pace increased with her sense of unease and she sprinted to the door, bursting in, only to find a surprised blond vampire calmly putting clothes in a well-used duffle bag. He looked up at her and cocked an inquisitive eyebrow, "To what do I owe this nocturnal visit, Slayer?"
"Spike, are you OK? I dreamed....I mean , I thought...." Her voice trailed off as she took in the scene - two bags by the door and the one half-filled one in his hand.
"What are you doing?"
"What does it look like, Slayer? I'm moving on. Isn't that what you told me to do?"
"You're leaving?" Disbelief and dismay flickered across her face as she waited for his reply.
"You don't really expect me to stay here indefinitely, hoping you will change your mind about us, do you?
The automatic "there is no us" died on her lips as she realized he was serious. "Uh, no, no, of course not. No reason you should." Yes, I thought you would. You can't be leaving? Leaving me?
"It's the right thing to do - get out of your way, let you go on with your life."
"Oh, yes, absolutely.” She nodded vigorously, totally unaware that her eyes were filling with tears. "But..."
"But, you weren't going to tell me? To say good-bye?"
"I thought we already did that, Slayer. I remember it pretty well. You were very clear.”
"But…but… well..... Dawn! Dawn! She'll be devastated. You can't leave without saying good-bye to her.” This in a tone of voice that suggested she had solved a serious problem, while still unaware of the tears that now began to roll down her cheeks.
Spike rolled his eyes and turned his gaze to the ceiling, refusing to look at her. "Oh, now don't start that on me".
"What you're doing"
Still unaware and confused, Buffy stammered out, "I'm not doing anything. I just think....you need to..... I mean…You can't leave Dawn," she said firmly. "She counts on you, she lo-likes you. You can't leave her. Me, you can't leave me. They all left. They all leave. No one ever says 'good-bye.' They just leave."
Spike stopped poking black tee-shirts into his bag and looked at her with a puzzled expression.
"Who leaves? Who left? What are you talking about?"
"A-Angel". Spike allowed a growl to escape his throat. "Riley". He allowed his eyes to roll. "Giles, my dad - they all left me-us - they left us. Dawn gets very upset."
"DAWN gets upset?"
"Yes, she gets upset. She cries. You - you promised m-her you'd never leave us-her."
"Well, that was then and this is now, isn't it?" Bloody hell, Slayer, do you really think I WANT to leave) “Why should I stay?” Give me a reason, Buffy. Please give me a reason.
Desperate blue eyes stared into tear-filled green ones - willing her to say what he needed to hear; but she remained silent even as the tears soaked her face, unnoticed and unwiped.
The staring contest going on from opposite sides of the room was interrupted by the abrupt arrival of Willow and Xander, who was carrying a large axe.
"Buffy! Are you OK? What happened? What did he do to you?"
"What? What did who do to me? What are you doing here?"
"Spike. What did he do to you? Willow heard you say ‘Spike’ and then you were gone"
"He didn't do anything to me. Why do you think...."
Xander turned to Spike, raising the ax menacingly. "What did you do to her, bloodsucker? Why is she crying?"
"Who's crying? Is somebody crying? Is it Dawn?"
Buffy quickly scanned the room looking for someone who might be crying. The other three all turned to stare at her.
So softly they could barely hear him, Spike whispered, "You don't even know you're doing it, do you? Your body knows how you feel and you still won't believe it".
"My body knows? Knows what? Leave my body out of this!"
"That's right, dead boy, Buffy's body is not your concern"
Ignoring Xander, Spike waited expectantly for Buffy to respond, but when she didn't, he shrugged and turned away. "Right, then, I'll just be going."
Xander and Willlow exchanged glances.
"No? What do you mean, no?"
Moving toward Spike and raising the axe again, Xander said quickly, "Why don't I just dust him right now? Save someone else the trouble.”
As he swung the axe toward Spike's head, a small angry blonde leaped between the axe and Spike, pushing it to one side and stumbling against the surprised vampire.
"Jesus Christ, Buffy! What are you doing? I almost killed you."
Spike grabbed the off-balance Slayer and pushed her away growling out, "Easy. love, I can handle the whelp by myself".
"Bring it on, Dead Boy. Bring it on".
Willow and Buffy simultaneously turned to hiss, "Xander, shut up".
"All right, color me confused. Spike dead. Spike leaving. What's not to like about this?"
"He… he has to see Dawn. Dawn won't want him to leave", Buffy said, locking eyes with him again. Refusing to participate in another staring contest, Spike turned away.
"You can tell her good-bye for me, Slayer. Tell her I'm sorry. The Niblet just isn't a good enough reason to stay."
Having forgotten he was told to shut up, Xander threw back his shoulders and snarled at Spike, "Well, it's about time you realized there is no other reason...ow! What was that for, Willow?"
Buffy stared at Spike’s back, tears still flowing. He turned to look at her and said, "No, I guess there isn't..." They locked eyes again, his hard stare challenging her to speak up, to tell them how she felt, but Buffy just stood, mute and miserable.
Willow, who had been watching the interaction of the last several minutes with dawning comprehension, formed an "O" with her mouth, then grabbed Xander by the arm. "Xander, come on, we don't need to be here".
"I want to be sure he leaves"
"Xander, let's go. NOW!" She pulled him with her toward the door and out into the night, leaving Spike and Buffy staring at each other. After several seconds, Buffy took a deep breath and turned away.
The eyes that were looking at her so intently turned cold and hard as the angry vampire snarled, "Still not willing to give up that image, huh? Can't have the Scoobies thinking Buffy isn't perfect. That she--"
"That she what? That another man is leaving her? That she can't even keep a neutered demon around, let alone a real man?" Oh God, why did I say that? I didn’t mean that! I'm sorry, I'm sorry.
"Oh, right, 'real men' have done so well by you. Replacing a neutered demon should be no problem then." He made no attempt to hide his bitterness and pain.
"I can handle it. I'm used to it. Go ahead, leave me!"
“I thought it was Dawn I was leaving...?"
"That's what I meant, leaving Dawn, leaving... leaving us.... " The tears were now accompanied by gulping sobs, but the stubborn look on her face dared him to notice or comment on it.
Shaking his head, he let out an unneeded breath and said softly, " I need to go, Buffy. If I weren’t already dead, living like this would be killing me. I just can't do it anymore. I'll let you know where I am when I get settled - in case you need me for something."
Picking up his bags, he opened the door and started out to the car.
He stopped, but didn't turn around. "What?"
"Nothing. I just.....I..... you.....be care--don't.....don't let anything happen to you, don't get dusted ....wear your seat belt".
With a sad, half-smile on his face, he shook his head as he continued out the door.
"Yeah. I love you too, Slayer,” he whispered, not caring if she could hear him or not. It would have been hard to know if she did, as she was now on the floor and sobbing aloud for the first time that night.
He threw the bags in the old car and got in. For a minute or two he just sat there with the engine idling; then with a muttered curse, slammed the car into gear and pulled away from the crypt, spraying grass and gravel behind him. The old Desoto roared through Sunnydale and out into the desert.
Gradually the car moved more and more slowly until it was finally sitting, idling again, in the middle of the road. Inside the car, the steering wheel was suffering serious abuse as the vampire pounded it with his fists. Along with the assault on the steering wheel there was a serious bout of name-calling and cursing along the lines of, "idiot, wanker, fucking idiot, bitch, pussy whipped git". When he had worn himself out, he sat quietly for a minute then, sighing, turned the car around and headed back the way he had come.
He pulled the car back up behind the crypt where it couldn't be seen in the daylight and stepped out quietly. As he approached the door to his home, he found a fledgling vamp approaching from the newer part of the graveyard. Both vampires could hear a high-pitched keening coming from the crypt.
"I wonder what that is?" The fledgling said eagerly.
Spike dusted the fledging without slowing down or looking at him - all his attention focused on the door and the sounds coming from it. His stomach clenched Please, let her be all right, let her be okay. He stood in the doorway long enough to see that the sound was coming from Buffy, who was still on the floor, rocking back and forth, clutching her knees and repeating over and over, "I'm sorry. Don't leave me. I'm sorry."
As soon as he realized she was not really hurt, (except by you, asshole, wanker, stupid git), he ran to her, picking her up and folding her against his chest.
"It's OK, love, I'm here. I'm here. Stop crying. Please stop. You know how I hate to hear you cry.” For several minutes they stood still, the vampire’s arms offering the welcome comfort and shelter they had provided every night since she had come back from her grave.
Choking back her slowly drying tears, she looked up at him and demanded, "Then how could you do that to me? What if I had waited till tomorrow to see if you were OK? I wouldn't have known what happened to you. I wouldn't have known if you were alive or dead".
She began to pound on his chest with her little fists. Not serious, Slayer punches, but frustrated, hurting girl punches.
"I am dead, love, remember? Dead, evil thing, demon…." He extended his arms and pushed her away from his chest.
Buffy shook her head. "No, not dead, never dead to me".
She leaned back in his arms and looked up at the face she had grown so accustomed to that she sometimes forgot to notice how beautiful it was. Reaching up with her hand, she touched one of those knife-sharp cheekbones and gently slid her finger down his cheek to the corner of his mouth. The mouth that she knew could do so many wonderful things.
He smiled down at her and gently pushed away a piece of hair that had stuck to the dried tears on her face. Red-eyed, tearstained, dirty -- he thought she was the most beautiful girl he had ever seen - softness and strength, fierceness and gentleness, all in the same beautiful package.
"Well, Slayer, what do we do now? I apparently can't leave you - ten miles was as far as I could go - and you, apparently, don't like it if I do. And don't hand me any crap about 'Dawn needs you', either," he growled, fixing her with a stare that would have frightened anyone else.
Sighing heavily, Buffy studied the buttons on his shirt intently for several seconds before raising her gaze to his face. " I don't suppose I can convince you I was crying because I stubbed my toe?" she muttered as she peered up at him from under wet eyelashes. "On something really, really hard?"
Up went the eyebrow - making a verbal response unnecessary.
"Didn't think so, but it was worth a shot,” she sighed with a shrug of resignation.
As she moved her shoulders, she realized that they were still holding each other by the arms and suddenly she was very conscious of his body’s nearness, his scent, the way her body was responding to him, even as she tried to step back and put some distance between them. Glancing up to see if he had noticed, Buffy could tell by the change in his expression that he (as always) knew before she did how she was reacting to his touch. The look he gave her was no less loving than before, but along with the love was that predatory lust that had made it so impossible to resist him for those four months they were together so often and so secretly. Suddenly she was very aware of the feel of his hands on her arms as they pulled her closer and slipped around behind her back.
She remembered those hands, remembered what they could do, how they felt on her body. Without realizing she was doing it, she found herself caressing his biceps and sliding her arms up around his neck. "Buffy", he breathed as his face neared hers and his mouth came closer and closer. With a start of surprise, she understood he was waiting for permission to kiss her. Even as she felt his body - all hard muscle and smooth, cool skin - responding to her increased heartbeat and breathing, he wouldn't touch her until he knew it was what she wanted.
Standing on her toes, she pulled his face down to hers and surrendered to the kiss she was just admitting she had been craving for weeks. She felt her body mold itself to his, remembering how perfectly they fit together, feeling the softness of his mouth on hers, his gentle then demanding hands moving over her skin, the proof of his lust pressing hard against her hip.
"Bloody hell, Buffy. Missed you so much".
His mouth slid down to the hollow of her neck and his tongue ran across her collarbone and back up her shoulders to her ear. With a sense of infinite relief, she allowed herself to feel and enjoy all the whispered endearments that she used to try so hard to ignore when she was trying to convince herself he couldn't...didn't love her.
Pulling herself out of his embrace reluctantly, she took his hand and led him toward the door. "Come on," she said softly.
"Where are we going?"
"Home, Spike. We're going home".
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